The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 is less than a day away. Arguably, the Cup is the most revered of them all and every time a conversation on opportunities for brands to make an impact were discussed in the last year, the ICC Cricket World Cup always found a place in the discussion. And yet, even as the D-Day is literally tomorrow, the buzz is missing. There is no pre-World Cup hype or excitement around the matches. Given the fact that almost 150 to 200 brands found a way of associating themselves with the World Cup, one wonders why everything around is so muted this time.
The first possible explanation very obviously can be around the marketing of the ICC Cricket World Cup. Did all partners, including broadcast partner ESPN, do a fair job of working on audience interest? I would think not. Yes, there were television campaigns for the World Cup, but the days of ‘TV – be all, end all’ are truly gone. The surround effect has become crucial for any conversation for media brands or any other brand today and we have seen that in recent communication exercises that have stood out. For the World Cup, there was nothing beyond the TVC that got talked about.
Were the brands involved just banking on ‘audiences would be interested in World Cup anyway’? If yes, not a very good idea...
Could the schedule have a role to play also in discouraging big activities? India match gaps are almost six days – there was no space, which could have allowed a concentration of hyper action. Brands that are working on sustaining their presence across the matches, without much help from India playing and hence a comparatively lower level interest level in the matches, are spending quite a bit too.
The other possible explanation of things being on the low side this time could be the lingering effect of the disappointing experience of the last World Cup, when team India’s early exit left the nation with a bitter taste. Again in that, the advertisers took four years to forget the experience of the past and give World Cup another shot. And why not, Team India is looking good again and we have an open case of sorts of who are the teams that would make it to a final ground. According to many experts, India is as strong as the other top teams to bring the Cup home. Then why, are the audiences not cheering and rooting for them in visible forms and numbers, yet?
Or is it a case of overkill? So, once we lived in the age of the once-in-four-years of the Cup that matters to the annual Indian Premier League, the T-20 World Cup, which happens every year or just about every other cricket series that one sees India involved in round the year? Audiences are just happy with India winning, doesn’t matter how big or small the Cup is and so the World Cup is not as coveted as it once was?
I know cricket fans and sports believers would not agree with much of the questions raised, but once again, what then are the reasons for this lack of activities around the World Cup? We are not seeing any brands or companies ‘cheering for India’. There are no conversation on public places where friends would get together to catch a match. There are no special World Cup menus or schemes or offers – there really is nothing around us right now, which would have worked on converting a no-interest consumer to low-interest consumer and in turn upgrading the low-interest consumer to a high-interest one and making a high-interest viewer turn fanatic.
Then one wonders whether it was just the various ICC restrictions that lowered any chances of increasing the noise around the Cup.
Whatever it was, what I miss most is a Cricket World Cup anthem, something that would have contributed to headlines when India would be winning, something to talk of at a later date when great sports marketing initiatives would be discussed (anthems truly charge presentations too!)... But here is wishing all the best to the 150-odd advertisers on being able to make the most of this Cup.